Malta’s COVID-19 death toll has risen to 232, with the health ministry announcing the deaths of two more patients on Saturday.

The patients, who both died at Mater Dei Hospital on Friday, were an 85-year-old man who tested positive on January 7, and a 77-year-old woman who tested positive on January 3.

The Health Ministry announced the deaths on Saturday morning and urged people to continue to abide by public health rules. Anyone with COIVD-19 symptoms should stay at home and dial 111, the ministry said.

Malta’s daily COVID-19 case count has risen in recent days, with authorities saying the spike is likely due to increased social activity during the Christmas period, with seasonality and more contagious strains of the virus possibly also contributing.

Health Minister Chris Fearne has said that the government will tighten restrictions if case numbers continue to spike.

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